52 week wait for Colposcopy - Glasgow

I received my smear test results a few weeks ago saying I have HPV and changes to my cells. I was told I would receive an appointment for a Colposcopy in 8 weeks time.

Received a letter yesterday saying the wait is no longer 8 weeks - it is up to 52 weeks!!! I’m absolutely shocked, horrified, and disgusted. They’re blaming Covid backlog and the fact they’re testing for HPV now. It is well know that up to 80% of the population have HPV at some point in their lifetime so they knew this already!?

I’m going to put a complaint into the NHS and am contacting my MSP. Has anyone else received such a letter?

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Hiya, I’m in Scotland too but in a different NHS trust. I never had the 52 week wait letter. I had my smear in Aug, waited 8 weeks to receive abnormal result which said colposcopy within 8 weeks. I spoke to the gynae secretary who said it’s actually up to a 4 month wait. I waited a few weeks then contacted the colposcopy clinic directly asking for a cancellation, given the number of people being laid up with covid & flu. After pleading a bit with them I received a phone call back within the hour offering me an appointment the same week.

There’s definitely no harm in contacting your MSP but try contacting the clinic yourself and if you don’t get offered a cancellation the first time, keep trying & you might well get lucky. Just phone first thing & be prepared to be able to attend at extremely short notice.

Just to put your mind at ease a wee bit, although I know you won’t fully stop worrying until you’ve had the test done. After being told I’d have months to wait for colposcopy, I made an appointment with a Gynae consultant at Ross Hall. He was fab and explained that the NHS send out these ‘routine’ letters (urgent cases have 2 week wait written on their letter) to people with borderline cell changes with anyone with moderate or severe changes being seen much quicker. They should really explain this in the letter instead of just the basic letter telling you you need a colposcopy & causing panic! I was given 3 options at Ross Hall - wait for NHS to offer me an appointment, have a repeat smear test done privately in 6 months time at the cost of around £430 or have a private colposcopy done for around £1700. The initial consultation fee was around £200. If I had the money, I’d have opted for the private colposcopy but don’t have a spare £1700 lying around! The whole thing is a mess just now waiting for any tests to be done on the NHS.

I really hope you get an appointment much sooner than you thought. I know they’re struggling with staff numbers and the increase in the number of people requiring colposcopy but it’s such a long time for people to have to wait.


I’m also central Scotland but not Glasgow. So sorry you’ve received that letter. I had the opposite to be honest, received letter saying I would receive a colposcopy appointment letter within 8 weeks, then had a letter through within 3 days with an appointment for the following week. I would definitely try phoning the clinic to see if there are any cancellation appointments, particularly considering this time of year there might be a few.

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Hi I had same thing sent out after my smear in august only 44 weeks I was told in sept … taking the fact I haven’t been seen as a blessing that it’s low changes but my go also said could be because I’ve been hpv vaccinated in school that I should be protected again high risk forms of hpv either way the waits still scary

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Continuing the discussion from [52 week wait for Colposcopy - Glasgow]

Thanks for your reply Leah!

That’s good you’ve had HPV vaccine. Unfortunately I’ve not had this and my smear results say I have HPV as well as changes to the cells. My partner has written to the health secretary about it all and he’s been given a case reference number. I’m also going to write to the women who sent the letter asking for further details. Hope you get your appointment soon! :slight_smile:

Thanks so much for your reply Lou!! The information you provided is so so helpful!!! I just wish the NHS would make things more clear but understand they’re under a lot of pressure etc. I will contact the clinic and see how I get on. At the age of 51 I have lots of things starting to go wrong with my health so this felt a bit overwhelming at the time, I’ve calmed down a lot now. Saying that I’m also very curious about how the wait jumped from 8 weeks to 52, what their review and monitoring process is, and why their letter is unclear. Thanks again though :slight_smile:

It’s been like that since June when I had mine… mine was 44 weeks due to covid backlog they claim… but my gp chased mine up yesterday and they’ve called today for an appointment on Monday, yes mine is the same cell changes and hpv nervous but glad to finally be seen :see_no_evil:

That’s great you’re finally getting seen Leah! Hope everything goes ok :slight_smile:

Hi yeah I’ve been seen Monday after waiting since my smear in June think my gp chasing it up helped so that’s a good idea I think :slight_smile: to get another smear in June but said it’s improved since my last smear so don’t worry too much :heart:

Hi. I had the same letter last April and im still waiting for colposcopy. I had my annual follow up smear last week. Its an absolute disgrace!! Im terrified that my results come back with sever changes this time and im still no further ahead. I have been told i just have to wait or go private.

Hi, thought I’d pipe up as I’m in Glasgow too. I went for my routine smear and asked about symptoms. Advised bleeding between periods amongst other things. Nurse took smear and said she’d request an urgent gynae referral due to symptoms and to follow up with a gp appointment the following week.

Did so and gp did a manual exam, not finding anything concerning. She reiterated what the nurse said and referred me for urgent colposcopy. This was in April 2023.

Letter came through from colposcopy a couple of weeks later. Called and was told the wait was 52 weeks. I asked if this was for urgent referrals or normal referrals - they confirmed the former. Luckily I have PMI so I went through that and had a transvaginal ultrasound, colposcopy and biopsy. The wait on NHS in GGC is awful. I called to cancel my place on the NHS waiting list to free it up for someone else. It’s a sad state of affairs at the moment.


So I complained about the 52 week wait, and I received a phone call that placed me on some short notice waiting lists. I received an appointment in March and there was a white area of change on my cervix. Biopsy was taken which managed to take away the whole area, and I received results a couple of days ago - all clear, and I have to go for another smear in 12 months.

It would seem that we are given the 52 week wait because our cells have been assessed as low risk but the letter doesn’t say this!!! as per the message from Lou_44. I asked this in my complaint and they said that it’s the GP practice who send out the 8 week wait letter, not the colposcopy clinic. I’n thinking - do you not communicate with each other? I’ve had so many health problems over the last year so I was very worried about the changes to my cells. I’m menopausal which can often explain changes. The email address I sent my complaint to is; complaints@gg.scot.nhs.uk. I got a very quick reply! The telephone number to get on a short notice waiting list is; 0800 678 3393. Hope this helps!

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Thank you @animel71

I went through my private medical insurance so didn’t stay on the waiting list for NHS but certainly good to know!

I’m waiting on my biopsy results now but it’s only just been over a week so I’m expecting to wait a while longer before I hear.

So pleased you got the clear :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

This was the first topic on the forum, but had a similar experience in Tayside.

Waited 12 weeks for inital smear results, i work in care and had taken a client for theirs after me, and they got results in 10 days, when i asked how this was possible, at the same GP surgery, i was told HPV positive goes to a different clinic. Inital test July, results late Sep.

As above, told 8 week wait, just as this passed early Nov got a letter dated Oct, obviously lost in the post strikes from the Tayside colposcopy explaing the wait time and my results were low grade changes etc again i queried why this letter isnt sent out initally as much better and less worry, to be told its the standard NHS one, it.really needs changed.

Finally in Jan got an appointment as they put on extra clinics, but had they read my notes first, knowing i had a heart condition, they couldnt do the normal treatment as they would as no doctor in the clinic, had they known i could of had a weekday.

As a result, now waited until May for treatment, waiting on Cardiology and Colposcopy being in sync, but waiting times are awful and they need to be telling us waiting times etc and my only reassurance is the nurse said everything looks ok.

Finally got my appointment on Tuesday but more worried about the Cardiology side of things, nothing is ever simple.